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La Jolla Community Center to host monthly history lecture

Author Linda Pequegnat with her book, ‘This Day in San Diego History’
Author Linda Pequegnat with her book, ‘This Day in San Diego History’

La Jolla Community Center launches a “This Month in La Jolla” lecture series Jan. 15 with author Linda Pequegnat presenting, 11:30 a.m. third Thursdays at 6811 La Jolla Blvd.

Taking excerpts from her book, “This Day in San Diego History,” a calendric collection of stories with something newsworthy for each day of the year, Pequegnat will consider all the historical events of La Jolla found in her book.

A teaser, she reads, took place on Jan. 6, 1888.

“A full-page ad appeared on the third page of The San Diego Union. The page was totally blank except for these three lines in the middle of the page:

Look out for La Jolla Park!

Hotel being built.

Pacific Coast Land Bureau

“This ad announcing the construction of the fancy 80-room, three-story La Jolla Park Hotel, ran for the next 25 days on page three of the newspaper,” she said, noting that at the upcoming lecture, she will elaborate on the brief history of the hotel. It was only open for three years in the late 1800s, before it closed and burned down, and arson was suspected but never proved.

Community Center executive director Nancy Walters said after reading Pequegnat’s book, she was the first choice for hosting the series. “I knew I could always approach Linda with historical questions about San Diego and La Jolla,” Walters said. “I remember being at a La Jolla Historical Society luncheon where they were celebrating Ellen Browning Scripps’ 100th birthday, and of course Linda was there. I remember noticing how interested people were in learning how things used to be. From the people and personalities to the terrain and architecture, people were genuinely curious. Linda is very passionate about her town of La Jolla, and history, so I thought it would be great to introduce a new series that explored historical moments in La Jolla history.”

Sourced from history books and collected stories about La Jolla, Pequegnat wrote the book after moving back to La Jolla Shores following a 20-year stay in Texas where her husband was a professor at Texas A&M University.

“At the time (the 1980s), my granddaughter was in fourth grade, which is when they start to learn about history. I looked through her history book and realized there wasn’t a lot of history about San Diego,” she said. “Furthermore, I realized I didn’t know a lot about California history or San Diego history and I thought, ‘I need to learn more.’ ”

She said she purchased books about San Diego and La Jolla’s histories, and made a note every time an event was dated. “This Day in San Diego History” was published in 2009. “These are just little vignettes – some are important, some are just fun little things,” she said. “There are a lot about Ellen Browning Scripps because she was so important to La Jolla.”

The lectures are free to community center members and $5 for non-members. (858) 459-0831.